I have been a Netspend customer for 5 years with no problems. I get my funds direct deposited for convenience and everything has always been fine until this year. I had not used the card in a while so it was inactive. Anticipating my federal tax refund, I gave Netspend a call to reactivate the card. It seems there was a block on the card from way back in June because of a one dollar online verification attempt that was suspected as unauthorized. After "proving my identity" and verifying my knowledge of the transaction, the block was released.
A few days later I got my tax refund direct deposited, no problem. I tried to make my first purchase using my money and was declined, so I went home to see if there were any alerts on the website, there were none. I called the Netspend toll-free # to inquire about it and it turns out the block was still there. I dealt with that a second time and the block was once again "released".
I made several transactions over the next couple of days with no incident. Then I tried to order a valentine's day gift online for my wife and was declined. I called Netspend and they told me there was a block on the card, but this time they couldn't tell me why. After a long time waiting on the phone and getting transferred from one Indian Person to the next, I was finally told that the system had marked my card as lost or stolen and had been frozen, even though I reported no such thing, the website said nothing about a problem and they made no attempt to contact me, and once again they couldn't tell me why it happened.
They said that this could not be reversed and they would send me a new card that would take 10 days to arrive. I told them I need access to my funds in the meantime, so I was instructed to go to an ACE store to purchase a temporary card, and to tell the merchant there to call them so they could attach the temp card to my account free of charge. Well, it turns out there are no ACE stores in NY where I live, so I went to a local retail store and bought a temp card for $5 and had to put a $20 deposit on it also.
I brought it home and called Netspend back. They told me that they could not attach it to my account without an ACE representative, but they could transfer my money to the temp card on the new account until the new card arrives. I had concerns about my already existing pending transactions, and was assured they would go through as they were already authorized. They transferred me AGAIN to another rep (I had already talked to several with over a half hour of waiting time between each) saying this would be the "escalation department", but each time I just got another noob who had no idea what was going on, and had a different opinion about how to fix the problem.
This latest one told me that the block on my original card COULD be reversed by the right people, and once again I was transferred. After waiting for 90 MINUTES I was connected to another noob, this one very obnoxious and completely without apology. He told me that the block COULD NOT be reversed, but he would do the transfer after I answer some "security questions". Then he tells me that he sees no balance on the account to transfer, and I nearly had a heart attack. I said "What?! What the hell are you talking about?! I have the screen right in front of me and it says I have $5047 in my account!" He tells me that my direct deposit has not been released yet, that it's up to the discretion of the depositor. I told him it was released 2 days ago, I've had access to it and have been using it ever since. He told me "no, you haven't" and I told him "uh, yes, I have.". I can only imagine what he was trying to pull. Then he says "oh, there it is" and says it just showed up on his screen.
The previous rep had asked me a barrage of bizarre questions in order to approve a transfer which I passed, but this one asked me new questions. He asked me "which of these 5 streets is closest to where I live", but I had never heard of any of them. I even went on mapquest with the guy on the phone and there were no such street names in my area. I explained to the guy that I'm not a human map, this question has nothing to do with me and the streets don't even exist. He insisted that the computer generated question is accurate. Now I'm really angry, so I demand to speak to a supervisor. He says they will only ask me the same nonsensical question, and I told him I want a supervisor regardless. After much debate he finally he agrees to transfer me.
After another 30 minutes he finally comes back and says he's spoken to his supervisor and will do the transfer "only this one time", but it can only be for $1000 and he will charge me $4.95 to do it. I tell him this is outrageous after all they have put me through, that it's not even my doing and I am furious, but he insists. Wanting it done already I told him fine, go ahead, rob me for the $4.95, and I asked him to assure me I will have access to the rest of my money when the new card arrives, to which he said I would in an uncertain voice. So he did the transfer to the temp card and I hung up the phone.
I went online and found thousands of complaints about Netspend, ranging from horrible customer service to outright theft and fraud, and now I'm really scared of what will happen next. I keep checking my balances and so far all seems well, but I'm terrified that they will try to steal my money. After I get the new card I will see if I can get my money the hell out of there as fast as I can. What a nightmare.